If you have been injured in an accident, you may be frustrated by all of the conflicting information you’ve received by insurance companies, television commercials and on the internet. It is easy for the victims of accidents to make mistakes that greatly reduce the amount of compensation they are able to claim and the recovery process can be extremely daunting when you know that every decision you make has an impact on the financial impact of your injuries.
The good news is that there are ways you can increase the value of your claim following an injury and to increase the likelihood of success if you file a lawsuit. The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are happy to provide you with any information that you need following your injuries and can answer any additional questions that you have about personal injury cases throughout the Chicago area.
Initial Steps to Take Following an Accident
If you’ve been in an accident, it may be difficult for you to remember to do everything needed to protect your legal interests. Your primary concern should be your personal well being and the treatment of your injuries, but if you are able to do the following things or have someone do them on your behalf, you will protect your interests in the event that you choose to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your accident.
- Gather evidence from the scene of the accident and keep medical records and police reports. The most effective way to gather evidence following an accident is via photograph. Take pictures of the scene of the accident as well as of both vehicles. Not only will these photos be used later as evidence, but they could also help your legal team reconstruct the events leading to the accident more quickly and accurately.
- Get medical treatment immediately. Failure to take this step is not only detrimental to your health but could reduce your settlement or cost you your case. If you fail to seek medical treatment, the defendant will argue that your injuries were not serious or that you were not injured at all during the accident.
- Follow instructions given by medical professionals. If you follow the treatment plan given to you by your doctor, you will be taken more seriously than if you resist instructions and deviate from the plan prescribed for you.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible. There are many reasons for seeking legal counsel immediately rather than delaying the process of retaining an attorney. The most important is preservation of evidence and facts. As time progresses, it becomes more difficult to allocate important evidence, records and statements and your recollection of events will begin to fade. This is also true of key witnesses whose statements and testimonies can help your case, which is why it is important to begin the process of investigating your case right away. The right attorney will also educate you on how best to handle communication with insurance companies and to seek medical care from sources that are more likely to help rather than hinder your case.
- Be forthcoming about the details of your case. The best way to destroy your case is to tell a lie. Not only will this put your lawyer in a precarious position, but it will give the defense ammunition and allow the opposing attorney to challenge the truthful claims you’ve made. Regardless of whether you think a detail will harm your cause, you must share it with your attorney so that he or she can prepare your case properly and address the concern head on.
Additional Ways you can help your Case
Once you’ve retained the services of an attorney and started the process of discovery— or the collection of evidence during a formal investigation— there are additional ways you can help yourself and your attorney. Many people who have been injured fail to realize that the simplest of actions can be used either in their favor or against them when the case reaches trial.
- Avoid recorded communication with insurance companies unless you are in the presence of your lawyer. Insurance adjusters may contact you under the guise that they are being friendly and trying to help. What most people don’t realize is that every bit of communication between an insurance company and a claimant is recorded so that lawyers can comb through the conversations in search for conflicting statements or evidence that can be used for their defense.
- Don’t discuss your case in public forums. Insurance companies are beginning to go as far as monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts in order to gather information that can help them with their defenses. By refusing to post any information about your case or injuries, you limit the information that the defense has access to.
- If you can return to work, make an effort to do so. You will garner more respect and sympathy from a jury if you show that you are trying to regain your normal life. Your pain, suffering and the treatment and therapy needed for you to recover fully from your injuries will then have a greater impact on how the jury views you due to your attempts to remain responsible in the wake of negative events.
- If you are unable to work, consult with your attorney before applying for benefits. The decision to receive benefits for a disability can have an impact on your case and your lawyer can let you know whether it is worthwhile to apply for benefits or to wait it out.
- Maintain relationships with people who are critical to your case such as those who can provide testimony about your character as well as how your accident may have changed your quality of living. A lifelong friend or close relative can explain to a jury how much your life has changed due to your injuries and this can help you win your case and collect additional compensation for pain and suffering and a diminished quality of life.
If you have additional questions, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC would be happy to provide answers and insight and can conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf before advising you about your legal options. Contact us now to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys at any of our offices located throughout the Chicago area or, if it would be easier for us to come to you, at a location of your choosing. Our consultations are risk free and our services won’t cost you anything until we’ve successfully collected compensation on your behalf.